Twelve-year-old Zaphiria Rotos, is a proud 7thgrader at Commack Middle School in Commack, NY. She is a high honor roll student, as well as an accomplished dancer. Zaphiria, a patient at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, is a motivated, committed, competitive dancer, who practices five days a week at North East Dance Academy in Commack.
Jazz, lyrical, contemporary and ballet, Zaphiria has many different steps in her winning dance repertoire. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when she was three and has been dancing competitively since the first grade.
She has a “go-for-it” attitude about dancing with diabetes—and she recommends the same attitude be adopted by other children who have diabetes, no matter their interests. “Just keep doing whatever you’re doing, don’t ever stop.” said Zaphiria who added, “don’t think you are different because you have diabetes. Think of it as something cool.”
Although her diabetes can be complicated to manage, especially during competitions, (between the adrenaline before a performance, the intensity of the dance and the amount of high carb food all around) Zaphiria says that diabetes technology has been great for her dancing. “My insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) help me to do this,” said Zaphiria, “Before I had them, competitions were much more stressful. Now, I can focus more time on my dance and less time on my diabetes.”
Added Zaphiria, “If you need to check your blood sugar, don’t care if people judge you or not. If you need to dose, just make it matter of fact. If someone notices my insulin pump or CGM when I’m dancing, or asks me about it, I just tell them I have a pump that gives me insulin and a monitor that reads my blood sugar without pricking my finger.”
Zaphiria’s hope for younger kids who were just diagnosed is for them to know that diabetes shouldn't stop them from doing the activities or sports they loved to do before they were diagnosed. "You can do anything that anyone else can do, it just takes some more work."